1/18/08

The Yakuza as Positive Contributors to Japanese Society - “The Modern Yakuza Support Theory”

2007 - Writer Manabu Miyazaki has written a unique book on looking at the Japanese Yakuza (Japanese Mafia for lack of a better word) as a positive, contributing segment of Japanese Society and Culture.

He breaks the Yakuza into 2 stages of transition -

The Modern Yakuza is what he calls the “Society-Oriented” Yakuza of after World War II. These groups were created and nurtured by the larger society in general. They were a place where the weakest in society (the poor, the discriminated, etc) went for protection from poverty. He explains that they served a social welfare function - they provided food, jobs, minority rights etc to those who did not have the means or power to get them.

The Present Day Yakuza is the Yakuza of now, and they are called the “Profit-Oriented” Yakuza. As poverty in Japan has diminished, the Yakuza began to lose their foundation of existence - to protect the weak from poverty. But they began to find that as Japan grew richer, other segments of society, namely the corporate, entertainment, and industrial segments began to need them. They became what Mr. Miyazaki calls “The Lubricant that moves Society”. They began to provide services that were needed by the corporate, industrial, and entertainment world - debt settling, money loaning, stock trading, etc.

He wraps it up with the idea that the Yakuza are a part of Japan and will never dissappear. Instead of trying to destroy the Yakuza, we should try to coexist with them.

I think this is a interesting idea. Whereas traditionally the Yakuza has been thought of as something unacceptable and must be destroyed, Mr. Miyazaki puts it as something that will never go away, and actually serves positive functions. Instead of trying to fight a impossible battle, should we learn to live together with the Yakuza just like how we learned to live with people of other backgrounds and races?

I personally have had no trouble with them and think society does need people like this whether you like it or not.



1 comment:

PipMyTrade said...

Organized criminals are the scumbags of society, "pollution from the exhaust."

Japan especially doing a fine job of romanizing and glorifying the petty criminal life.

Altho I agree, they will not go away. Social outcasts will always exist. They are a necessary evil, in that they must control the blackmarket business, which makes up a huge chunk of the global economy.

Interesting documentary, I've enjoyed them.